As our 2023 Christmas Elfstravaganza comes to its final weekend, we put some questions to two members of our team that were key to bringing this event to life. Caitlin MacInnes, STEM Development Lead, talks about finding the balance between education and entertainment and Rosemary Spence, Commercial Lead, talks about the operational and creative process in transforming Dundee Science Centre into a winter wonderland
What thought process went into choosing the experiments that you delivered for Elfstravaganza?
Caitlin: “We wanted to showcase something with a bit of wow-factor for Christmas as I know that visiting the science centre at this time of year is a special treat. The experiments (known as Hand of Fire, Whoosh Bottle and Elephants Toothpaste) give us a big ‘hook’ that grabs people’s attention and allows us to discuss topics like sustainability, healthy diets, energy and chemical reactions. All inspired by the science Santa uses of course!”
What was the biggest inspiration behind the decorations and North Pole Post Office?
Rosemary: “Christmas is the perfect excuse to bring out my inner child! I wanted to recapture my feelings of nostalgia and transport visitors to a magical place that exudes the Spirit of Christmas. The concept all started with an elf…”
What has been your favourite part of the event so far?
Caitlin: “I love hearing our audience’s reactions to the experiments in the show and the questions they ask at the end. It’s always very rewarding to me when a young person in the audience feels confident enough to ask a question and shows that they’re curious to know more. During this run of Christmas events, we had someone ask how they could become a scientist (this doesn’t happen as often as you’d think) and hopefully we’ve encouraged them to start their journey into that STEM career path!”
What has been the biggest challenge?
Rosemary: “For me it was important to get the attention to detail right with strong visuals that tell a story to create a memorable experience for children of all ages. Operationally, there were a few challenges bringing the North pole to life, but that’s all part of the creative process and as we all know elves thrive under pressure and working on tight timeframes right!”
Caitlin: “The biggest challenge is finding the right balance of science and storytelling in our shows to suit our audience best. Dundee Science Centre welcomes visitors of all ages and backgrounds therefore our team of science communicators are trained to deliver at different levels to suit the audience in front of them so no two science shows are ever exactly the same. We have a very talented team who have lots of experience in this and working together we’re able to make sure everyone has a great experience.”
Will your elf twin ‘Rosie Ribbons’ be making a return next year?
Rosemary: “Rosie Ribbons will be taking a well-earned holiday after the 25th on a 6-month cruise around the world, eating all the exotic candy that she can, but will be back in the North pole next Summer to collaborate with the Chief Science Elf to plan another fun filled Christmas in 2024.”